It’s Oct. 15, 2016 and there’s a storm warning. The remnants of Typhoon Songda have made their way to southern B.C. But friends and family dressed in their finest braved the weather and made their way to East Vancouver to attend a mass wedding of 15 couples.
In the sanctuary of St. Mary’s Parish, Father Pierre LeBlond stands in front of 28 more brides and grooms than he’s used to. “I’ve never done this before,” he said.
Apparently, neither has the city. Fifteen couples is a record, according to Vancouver’s archdiocese. Though in the Philippines, where many of the couples are originally from, mass weddings are common. Two thousand couples got married there on Valentine’s Day in 2012.
The 15 couples at St. Mary’s have been married before in civil ceremonies and some even have children. However, they haven’t been married in a church. As Catholics, they wanted to tie the knot with God’s blessing.
“It was the only thing missing for us,” said Sherly Heck, a former caregiver who got married 18 years ago in front of her employer’s fireplace.
Today, she’s even wearing the same dress. It fits perfectly.
It’s raining outside, but no one’s bothered. Fifteen love stories are about to reach a new chapter, stories like a factory encounter in Taiwan, a bar friendship in Burnaby and an office romance in the Philippines government.
Read the full story in the Vancouver Courier here.